Book Review: Dangerfield In Dublin

The Ginger Man is a novel written by J.P. Donleavy and was first published in 1955.  Donleavy was an American who immigrated to Ireland much like the main character in this novel.  He actually died not all that long in 2017.

Anyway, Sebastian Balfe Dangerfield is the protagonist or anti-hero, or just the cad at the center of this story.  He is attending law school in Dublin and marries a woman.  Then he cheats on her.  There are some bar fights and affairs peppered throughout.  There is a rather strange blend of first and third person prose which does not help present a very clear story.

I will always have a soft spot for Ireland and its people since I have been there a few times.  I really wanted to like this novel, but I just couldn’t stay engaged with it.  I did finish reading it, but not much of it stuck with me.

Apparently, this work is very highly acclaimed, but perhaps a more notable literary critic will have to explain to me what I missed in order to garner some enjoyment out of this. I could not bring myself to care about the characters.  I did somewhat enjoy picking up on the landmarks that I knew from my previous sojourns over to the Emerald Isle.

I found it rather unfortunate that I found this work so unsatisfying.  Fortunately, it doesn’t dent my affection for Ireland one bit.  I may not rush out to collect another Donleavy novel, however I will certainly be willing to explore other works by Irish authors.

I will be returning to American soil with my next reading indulgence, however like The Ginger Man, this one will take place just after World War II.  Easy Rawlins is introduced to crime fiction readers in Walter Mosley’s Devil in a Blue Dress.

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